George Washington wanted to cash in on their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2007 but the Colonials will be making the long bus trip back up I-95 after falling to the eighth seeded Memphis Tigers 71-66 in Raleigh.
The Colonials never lead against the Tigers and got off to a sluggish start to the game when they went down 26-16 with 7:56 to play in the first half. Mike Lonergan's squad did claw back a bit to cut the halftime deficit to five points as the Colonials would trail 31-26 at the break.
GW seemed to be fighting an uphill battle in the second half until the last four minutes of the game when they started to make some progress and cut into the Tigers lead. The Colonials got within one shot with less than 90 seconds left but Nemanja Mikic missed a game tying three with 58 seconds remaining. GW got a second chance when Chris Crawford took an ill-advised three pointer to Josh Pastner's dismay.
Joe McDonald drained a heavily contest layup to cut Memphis' lead to just one, but Michael Dixon Jr's clutch free throw shooting almost instantly expanded the lead to three points. Mike Lonergan called a timeout with the ball and 10 seconds left and it looked like Maurice Creek was scheduled to be the hero similar to the Colonials' December win against Maryland. Instead Creek took an off-balanced three pointer and didn't even come close to even drawing iron. The miss would eventually result in a five point loss for GW.
Memphis will now play the winner of Virginia and Coastal Carolina. The Tigers were lead by Dixon who came off the bench to post 19 points. Joe Jackson was the only other Tiger in double-digits with 15 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds.
George Washington finishes the season with a 24-9 mark, the highest win total since the Colonials went 27-3 in 2005-06. Mike Lonergan will have a strong core coming back next year but looses Creek, Mikic, Isaiah Armwood. Armwood lead the Colonials in his send off with 21 points and 5 rebounds. GW only got 3 points off their bench in tonight's loss.